Troillus and Cressida sandwiches

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 16 August 2009

Driving back to the cottage of a Saturday morning....6a.m., nothing on the road. A little bit of radio, a lot of thinking. I had two parties two attend, one in Balcombe the other in Wimbledon, both lovely people, but I knew i couldn't make either.

I was gutted, but I just couldn't fit them in with all the other stuff that was hanging around. Daughters, mothers, cranial osteopaths..... I arrived at the cottage at 7.09. climbed out of my clothes and into my bed.

The cat stayed on the bean bag and Jim was asleep in the flat. I set the alarm for 11.00 but didn't need it. Woke early enough to call my girly friend Linda B. We talked for 90 minutes about life, parenthood, car insurance, accidents, tears and letting go.

I had one of those washes that takes four minutes but enables you to face the world without the world knowing that it took less than five minutes to to put the face on.

A nip to Waitrose for butter, buttercup syrup and Strepsils. the daughter has a sore throat.

A nip to Helios in T.Wells, the homeopathic pharmacy, to collect a remedy just in case it was swine flu.

Now the reason I had gone home at all was to do with shock. I had had two big whammys in the week and my body had gone inside itself. My whole body had contracted like a very old tortoise inside its shell. My right arm hurt, my neck hurt, my knees hurt, my lower back on the left side hurt, I had pain in nooks and crannies where i didn't even know there were crooks and nannies....I took two Neurofen Plus. TWO. It takes real discomfort for me to take any kind of drug.

On Friday night I had gone down to Canary Wharf to listen to a Cuban Band. Standing dwarfed by Swiss, American and various other high rise bankers, I listened to the guiros and congas whilst attempting to sway. My new FITFLOP sandals, whilst helping my hips, did nothing for the awful grinding noise as I tried to bump my way around the Salsa. So I left early and took the 277 bus to the Arcola Theatre in Hackney. Th Arcola is an old shirt factory which is one of the trendiest theatres in London. I sat and read my book until the end of the play when Jim emerged from the wings. He was surprised to see me, if not a little pleased. We walked down the Kingsland Highroad to 'Mangal 2', the best Turkish restaurant in town where we ate a meze, brown rice, lamb kebabs and very strong Turkish coffee. I only had the meze. By the time I got to bed my body was proper Mangalled

After my Saturday catch up call and a boot full of medication I thought I would buy B a home welcoming gift so spent 35 on a big fancy rubber plant. A new variety called Finkus something? The geezer who sold it to me called it Freddie Fincus. The day was warm so I took the lid down of my little red Nellie and jammed Freddie Fincus firmly on the floor and over the passenger seat.

Into the cranial osteopath for a thorough working over. I am still sore as I write.

Then a very slow drive, remember I had Freddie sitting next to me anything over 40 miles an hour and Freddie was going to fly off. Freddie Flyoff....

From T.Wells, down the A21, around Greenwich, through the Blackwall Tunnel - lid still down so I stuffed my cardigan up my nose thus avoiding the worst of the toxic fumes -entered Dalston arriving at my daughters flat by 3.00 I dropped off Freddie and the chemist shop and decided to head north.

Through Stamford Hill, down to Manor House, across to Camden, up through Archway, round to Hendon, along the A1 and Boreham Wood by 4.00. I stopped off at the Turkish store and bought fresh dates, sweet, little sticky mangoes, peaches, nectarines, huge bergundy grapes and a ton of salad. My mother and I talked over the radishes, laughed about LBC and argued over the health care of the elderly.

I left at around 7.00 and headed to Central London. Trafalgar square was teeming, tourists, demonstrators, cars and life. Drove round over Waterloo bridge, no sunset it was now nearly 8.00. Parked my car in a little side street on the South Bank and walked to the National Film Theatre.

I decided on a film in the Studio. The Studio theatre has but five rows I got a concessionary ticket for 5.25 because I am an OAP and chose number 6 in row D, one seat from the end. The bar was heaving with film buffs, erzastz film buffs, posers and posers posing as poseurs. I bought one ticket to see CHERI. Ordered one glass of soda water with a dash of lime and a bowl of chips. The French bar tender told me the order would 'Take a leetle time, perheps ten minoots was zis okay.' Sure I said I had nowhere to go. I found one seat next to three of THE most boring people who talked non-stop about absolutely nothing.

The french waitress brought me my bowl of superb chunky chips and a tea-glass of ketchup. I dipped, blew on my hot potatoes, slurped my soda and savoured my spuds. Then the call came for the Studio to be seated. A kind of up market airport lounge announcement with a decidedly French accent.

I sat in D6 and waited for the five rows to fill up which they did, as the cool jazz drifted around the cinema and the moody lighting played on my pink plastic carrier bag full of almonds I felt like I was 18 again. All arty and cinemagraphic, when I used to spend my nights digging cottage cheese out of tubs with long green cucumbers as Roman Polanski films played back to back in Baker street.

The lights dimmed, Warner Bothers lit up and the film started. Michelle Ffeiffffer and Friends played their parts dreamily in Stephen Frears film. A Collete novel adapted for the likes of Katherine bates, Harriet Walter and Nicola McCaullife. The only point, as far as I could see, was the costumes and the langorous music. I drifted in and out of sleep until three quarters of the way through and there he was.

'How long will you be needing the room for Monsieur' said The Clerk.

( The old git has just got up and corrected me, 'Naw! I said And how long will you be staying with us monsieur? )

But there he was behind the counter. All three seconds of him. My world lit up. Oy, you lot there he is, I wanted to tell the packed studio;


I didn't of course, I slipped back into somnambulance until the credits when there he was again right under Harriet Walters:


I had gone to the cinema alone and ended up sitting with my husband in the middle of Waterloo.

I drove back to Battersea, parked the car, walked out of the garage and my very own Clerk, all mutton chopped and knackered from doing two performances of Ibsen, strode out of the darkness

But aint that the actors life, one minute an old shirt factory in Hackney the next a reception desk in Paris

We grilled lamb chops and ate them whilst we talked about curtain calls, daughters and Michelle FFweiffffer.

Sybil called us from the Hollywood Hills and whilst the old git and the psychic talked Yorkshire, we all marvelled at the wonders of Skype and technology...

But it's 12.30 and we are going out for brunch near Battersea Park, then off to the Globe to see Matthew Kelly in Troillus and Cressida. there will be a little stars in our eyes as: Tonight Matthew, I am going to be Agamemnon....

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At August 16, 2009 1:43 PM hymie wrote:

Hi Jeni,

I don't know how you fit in all this writing with everything else you do but I'm very glad you do! A real pleasure to read as always, so thank you.

I've just finished reading "Dear Fatty" by Dawn French and thought it was brilliant especially the letter to Lenny. I hope that one day in the future I'll be that much in love with someone to write similar words..
Have a great week and keep on doing what you do so well, entertaining us all.
Hymie x

2. At August 16, 2009 5:16 PM christian wrote:

It's D3 & B6 that are important..x

3. At August 16, 2009 5:43 PM June wrote:

Hi Jeni

I'm exhausted just reading about your weekend, but in total agreement with Hymie, so thanks for allowing us to share it with you
Loved Chrissie's email so thank you Chrissie.
Hope everyone is well and happy and enjoying the summer wharever the weather brings us.

Love June

4. At August 16, 2009 7:38 PM Chrissie Walker wrote:

You do it well, Jeni! This could be just bound as a book. Great gift for all expats. Home Thoughts from A Broad...or Broad Thoughts from A Home.

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.